The Internet and Business Association, which includes leading companies operating in RuNet, has announced the admission of new members, as well as the organization of industry committees. One of the unexpected moments here was the entry into the association of Google, which was previously regarded as one of the strongest rivals of the local market participants.
The creation of the association “Internet and business” (AIB) was announced at the conference “Internet and Business” 2006 (CIB). This happened shortly after the leading Internet companies Yandex, Rambler and Mail.ru refused to participate in the Russian Internet Forum (RIF). Soon they were joined by RBC. The CIB was conceived by the organizers as a kind of counterbalance to the official RIF, which was established by the Regional Public Center for Internet Technologies (ROCIT) in 1996.
The number of industry conferences that in recent years have begun to move actively, on the one hand, speaks of the active growth of the industry, and on the other, such a number of events is not a guarantee of the quality of their events. For example, in spring 2007, RIF, CIB, and RIT (Russian Internet Technologies, the third major forum) were virtually one after another, gathering the same contingent of speakers over and over again, often with the same topics. However, the specificity of the events is. In particular, the CIB considers the Internet from the point of view of running a web business, and RIT, which was held this year for the first time, focuses on the technological aspects of creating Internet projects.
The goal of the KIB organizers is to promote successful business experience on the Russian Internet and popularize effective business models, exchange of ideas and professional experience. Equally the same is true of the objectives of the AIB, the activities of which, however, could not be heard anything specific until the CIB-2007.
Now AIB has determined an action plan for itself, and it is worth noting that it is quite impressive. For example, community members intend to develop areas of analytics, a press center, hold seminars and conferences, and work on interaction with related industries and the state. In addition, among the objectives of the association are the development of technologies and standards, as well as the rules of business etiquette of the industry, including the development and dissemination of agreed assessments of Runet. Other mechanisms under development include geo-targeting, a system that allows participants to exchange geodata with other selected areas of the system. Representatives of the association intend to work on the harmonization of best practices, including attitudes towards spam of all kinds, copyright on digital content, privacy issues, etc.
The co-founders of AIB initially included Mail.ru, Rambler, RBC and Yandex. All members of the Association have equal rights; for joining, the recommendation of two members of the association and payment of the entrance fee is 300 thousand rubles, as well as the annual payment of membership fees and participation in the organization’s activities. Now AIB also includes AIP, Runner, Arton, Afisha, Kommersant, Internest, Internet Solutions, Softkey and HeadHunter. However, the most surprising for market observers was the entry of Google, traditionally considered the main and strong competitor for Russian players. So far, Google is not part of the board of the association, consisting of representatives of Yandex, Rambler, Mail.ru and RBC.
As commented on this event for the media, director of special projects for Yandex, Andrey Sebrant, the joint work of competitors within the association is a normal practice, and the presence of Google will ensure the development of uniform standards and ratings for contextual advertising. In Russia, there are now two local major players in this market – “Runner” and “Yandex”, and for Google, which is actively working in the Russian Federation, this area is also a priority. In the western market, this company is collaborating with Yahoo! within industry associations. and Microsoft.
Another significant announcement by AIB was the plans to create several committees, which should deal with practical issues. More than half of the organization’s funds will be distributed to the committees. The board of directors of the AIB was curated by the following committees: on legal issues, Mikhail Chekanov (Rambler), on research — Fedor Virin (Mail.ru), on educational programs — Andrey Sebrant (Yandex), on business aspects — Mikhail Gurevich (RBC). Apparently, after the allocation of responsibility, we should expect from AIB and other specific actions.